exactly where to report employers for violating shelter-in-place orders, by state

When I wrote on Wednesday about what to do if your employer is violating shelter-in-place orders, commenters were a wealth of information for individual states.

Here’s crowd-sourced info on where to report non-compliant employers, by state. I will verify and add additional info here as I get it.

• In California, if your county declared a shelter-in-place order before the governor did (e.g., the Bay Area and others), report the violation to the County Public Health officer. The City of San Jose has also asked residents to report violations at their 311 number, the City of San Mateo has a 211 number, and the City and County of Los Angeles ask that you do the same. In LA, call the Department of Public Health at 888-700-9995 or file a complaint here.

If you are in a county that did not shelter until Governor Newsom’s order, call the non-emergency number for your local police. In Alameda County, they’d like you to email covid19compliance@acgov.org. When in doubt, check your County Public Health office’s website for direction.

• In California more broadly, you can call 311 to report businesses violating the order.

• In Colorado, call the non-emergency number for your local police department. In Denver, you can call 311 to report employers not following the stay at home order.

• In Florida, Pinellas County (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, etc.) has a tips hotline set up for calls: 727-582-8477.

• In Illinois, there’s an Essential Business Determination Hotline: 1-800-252-2923 or CEO.support@illinois.gov. In Chicago, call 311.

• In Indiana, you can use the report form here.

• In Kentucky, the governor set up a hotline to report violations: 1-833-KY-SAFER or (833)-597-2337. All calls will be answered by a Kentucky Labor Cabinet employee. There’s also an online reporting form.

• In Louisiana, New Orleans is actively encouraging people to report to 311 and seem to be addressing a good portion of the information they receive.

• In Maryland, you should call the police non-emergency number.

• In Michigan, file a written complaint with the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division. Don’t call; they are swamped and they are only telling you to file a written complaint.

• In Minnesota, violations can be reported to local law enforcement through the non-emergency number.

• In Missouri, contact your local department of health.

• In New Jersey, residents can file complaints at covid19.nj.gov/violation, or call 211, the state’s information service set up to spread COVID-19 information.

• In New Mexico, send emails to the State Police at nmsp.covid19@state.nm.us or call local law enforcement. In Albuquerque, you can call 311.

• In New York, you can submit a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, preferably by email at Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov or by phone at (212) 416-8700. In New York City, call 311 and say “Paid Safe and Sick Leave.”

• In North Carolina, if you’re in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) you can report your company to the help line at 704-353-1926.

• In Ohio, call the local health department.

• In Oregon, you can report violations to OSHA using this form.

• In Pennsylvania, contact your local law enforcement agency through their non-emergency number. In Philadelphia, call 311 or 215-686-8686, or use the city 311 app.

• In Texas, if you’re in Harris County call 832-839-6941 or email stayathome@cjo.hctx.net. In San Antonio, call the police department’s non-emergency line, 210-207-SAPD.

• In Washington state, you can email business@mil.wa.gov. for clarification on the essential business list or fill out this online form.

• In Washington, D.C., call 311.

• In Wisconsin, you’re asked to call local police.

• In many cities in Canada, you can call 311 and report the business. In Alberta, you can submit a report here.

For states not listed here:

• Check your state government home page. Some will have instructions on how to report non-compliant businesses.

• Trying calling the local health department.

• Contact your state legislators (there should be a way to find out who yours are on the website for your state legislature), because they generally have much smaller constituencies and more local connections to help you, and are generally a lot more involved in state and local issues like quarantines, and generally have dedicated staff who’s able to help as well.

• Since shelter in place and stay at home orders are delivered from the local or state level, it may also be helpful to contact your city commission (or whatever form of local government is in place) or your representative in your state’s capital.

{ 92 comments… read them below }

  1. Veryanon*

    In Pennsylvania, it looks like reporting to the PA State Police on the non-emergency number is the way to go, as well as the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture.

    1. SPDM*

      Weirdly, Pittsburgh doesn’t have a non-emergency number; 911 just triages you into one group or another. Good to know it’s the state police.

      1. Risha*

        The Philadelphia area has the same thing. I was shocked when I was visiting my parents several years ago and they suggested calling 911 just to get a phone number for some non-critical state agency.

      2. Amadi*

        Pittsburghers can call 311 for the Mayor’s Service Center for non-emergent issues requiring government agency attention in the city itself. Not specifically the non-essential business situation but in general.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Thanks! Do you by chance have a source? I’m trying to verify all these before I add them to the list and couldn’t find that — the Indiana OSHA page actually says they don’t have authority to act.

      1. FrustratedLowesEmployee*

        As of today, Indiana’s police have straight up been told that they are not to enforce the shelter-in-place order or pull people over, etc. (Source: am from Indiana and am still working at a place that does sell some essentials and watching in frustration as people visit the store for their very essential rugs and paint rollers and decorative bird houses.)

        1. OfOtherWorlds*

          It’s not necessarily bad to give enforcement of this to civil auth0rities who will focus on businesses rather than to the police who will focus on individuals. I’d rather doctors and nurses who “don’t look like a doctor” not have to deal with hassles from the cops as they go to their essential jobs.

      2. RecordJacket*

        Department of Labor seems to be feeling exceptionally cagey about committing to being able to do anything specific, but they can always respond to reports of an unsafe workplace, and they’ve made a COVID-19-specific nonformal complaint form for IOSHA here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfbOXrhQ3OomI4S86rU6zHDMadE4LPRjXI82yxqlJ2r1XMFWw/viewform

        They just don’t say what they can or will do about it, which is probably because they haven’t been given direction from the Governor’s Office yet. He’s going to do another Public Announcement at 2:30 EST, though (https://www.facebook.com/GovHolcomb/posts/1215926901946866?__xts__%5B0%5D=68.ARBau3jq9NFWK7xutvZjIGx0gc_DCAOx5nGmzhNq-WsnRiQvEmQtTza40kjmtmXgpAz6KgYiVhDJ9BMEjBS1R_fTIA48sMcmdDdhlJmn4vgMqU0ZqVRMR3OfZN58iagcRRNQSmp3x_g_Rb4Vl2HizTa1sd05J5JX5hU9vFwE5XI9OtgiRv5Q-elkqjmE9AnpsiSb_DcqfePk8zx333uA9jgX4ea3cd8DH55td4OF9urVrIi66KT1dFVR7ZTnfwWrCXtNOao-lSp433bSAk-D0WpnjIkw1vbb2VZmOmd0bsjQpMPs1RmmOLbmUQzxoCmEgKvg2hceSPwsVuTKrDrqbuqdsAF1c1jeMuwjyncmLbN_WvsckI_R5YZPBMbvYHC3HmTkvYnSC75cowLk1V9w4DTwcrBj6uWgLiUU4kL1Nxd5qnsUkQMG2yLymTTXhIuNTKyje3hiuOIpu_OFBDbhCr7weH4aFxzib-8EAGHAZr2IpBnQKc1J3Noyp0JDsQO8-yb_eK4QdGocNHlZPLs&__tn__=-R) (Good God, sorry for the long FB link), so there might be something useful in that.
        source: I’m a state employee working from home, but this is all public info plus my non-official observations.

        1. nuttysaladtree*

          (Tip for the future: usually, one can remove everything after the question mark (?) without problems.)

  2. pentamom*

    I would suggest checking your relevant authority (state, county, city) website to be as sure as you can that a given business violates the order before reporting.

    1. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

      For San Antonio, I can only find one story that mentions reporting. All the rest seem to indicate that the city is going ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about enforcement.

      “City residents, including employees who feel their employer is not adhering to the mandate, are asked to call the San Antonio Police Department’s non-emergency line, 210-207-SAPD, if they see a violation of the order.”

      Article with the comments about not enforcing:

  3. 27lelle*

    In Minnesota, violations can be reported to local law enforcement (preferable through the non-emergency number). If it’s the sort of business that requires local licensing, you can contact the agency that issued the license as well.

  4. Lime green Pacer*

    In Alberta, you can submit a report online, via the Government of Alberta Covid-19 website. I’ll put a direct link to the form in a reply to this comment.

  5. Parenthetically*

    Kentucky also has an online reporting tool. In the Louisville Metro, you can also report via 311.

  6. TexasQuestion*

    Question for Tarrant county, TX: Are car washes/detailing considered essential? I saw one of those drive thru car wash places operating yesterday, and this one has a staff dedicated to detail work. I saw all their staff out there detailing cars yesterday.

    1. CheckingIn*

      Most States/Counties have put out lists of what they’re considering essential. You could start by checking to see if your county has put something like that out. It seems like every area has different ideas on what’s essential!

  7. Not a Blossom*

    Looks like for Maryland, you should call the police nonemergency number. From the website:

    The Maryland State Police is actively engaged in our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As they work to protect the citizens of Maryland, they will be involved, when needed, in the enforcement of the Governor’s Executive Orders.

    The state is hoping for voluntary compliance with business closures. If a need for law enforcement arises, Maryland State Police will take prompt appropriate action, in partnership with state’s attorneys and local law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs across Maryland.

    Contact will first be made with the owner or manager of the establishment. If voluntary compliance does not occur, action will be taken. That could result in the issuance of a criminal summons or warrant, or it could result in immediate arrest, depending on the circumstances in the particular situation.

    Violation of a Governor’s Executive Order declared during a state of emergency is punishable for a fine of up to $5,000 or one-year in jail or both.

    Separately, price gouging is illegal during an emergency and should be reported to the Maryland Attorney General’s office. Complaints can be filed online or over the phone. Click here for more information.

  8. Hills to Die on*

    In Colorado, call the non-emergency number for your local police department. Verified by local police in my city / county. Note that some police officers were not initially enforcing but that seems to have changed dramatically when the Governor drove by a park and saw the free-for-all picnicking / busy playground.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      This is the rub when it comes to putting it on the backs of local law enforcement it will always depend on what they deem is necessary to enforce. Thankfully many are great but there are lots of counties out there with Sheriffs who don’t think it’s important. It can boil down to politics in each area even, ick.

    2. MoinMoin*

      Yeah, yesterday in my (rural, red) CO town all the playground equipment and gazebos got cordoned off at our local park. I guess some new directives came down with the new shelter-in-place stuff.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Monday ordered schools to remain closed through the school year. By Tuesday at midnight, all dine-in restaurants, bars and gyms in the commonwealth must close. No orders of shelter in place have been issued in Virginia, where 290 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.3 days ag

      1. I'mBackAfterALongBreak*

        Yes, this is different than a closure for all except non-essential business.

          1. hermit crab*

            I’m also in Virginia and have been wondering this as well. The best I could find is this state FAQ (https://www.governor.virginia.gov/media/governorvirginiagov/governor-of-virginia/pdf/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Regarding-EO-53.pdf), which says “If you are concerned your employer is not following these guidelines, please contact OSHA or the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.”

            There’s also this article from Virginia Beach, which suggests that on-the-ground enforcement is on local jurisdictions: https://www.wavy.com/news/local-news/virginia-beach/virginia-beach-asks-for-voluntary-compliance-of-covid-19-gathering-order-business-permits-to-be-suspended-for-noncompliance/.

          2. Long drives*

            There doesn’t seem to be a centralized way. I’m in Virginia. A friend called the local police non emergency number about a non compliant restaurant. They told her she should call the restaurant manager to complain. :(

            1. nuttysaladtree*

              Seconding. I, too, have not had success:

              “Violation of paragraphs 1, 3, 4, and 6 of this Order shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to § 44-146.17 of the Code of Virginia.”

              Relevant paragraph of said code:
              “Executive orders, to include those declaring a state of emergency and directing evacuation, shall have the force and effect of law and the violation thereof shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor in every case where the executive order declares that its violation shall have such force and effect.”

              Does this mean one calls the governor’s office?

              FAQ for Executive Order 53 –
              “Q: I work in a business that is considered essential. Does the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people apply to my workplace?
              “A: No…If you are concerned your employer is not following [appropriate workplace guidelines], please contact OSHA or the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry.” (commenter’s note: henceforth, DOLI)

              DOLI’s website has a COVID-19 page with workplace guidelines with the email address covid19questions [appropriate punctuation redacted to help prevent spam] doli.virginia.gov. Have yet to find info about reporting violations. Reporting violations page does not have COVID-19-specific info.

              COVID-19 Isolation / Quarantine / Movement Restrictions / Public Health Monitoring FAQ from the Virginia Department of Health
              “Q: What are the enforcement powers in place if a person violates quarantine restrictions, and is there a number to report the violation?
              “A: If a person does not comply with voluntary quarantine, the VDH may issue a quarantine order that legally requires the person to comply with quarantine restrictions. Law enforcement can become involved, if needed, to ensure compliance.”

              So, uh, do Virginians report this to the governor? To DOLI? To the local police? This is insane.

  9. AsPerMyPreviousEmail*

    In Michigan, you are advised to call local law enforcement to report a non-essential business for remaining open.

    1. JediSquirrel*

      Yep, and in my county they have said that these complaints are the lowest priority on their to-do list. Which explains why almost every business in my city has suddenly decided that they are essential and are remaining open. Yeah, coffee is essential, but a coffee shop is not.

  10. JustKnope*

    Alison, THANK YOU for putting so much work into this list. Your detailed, fact-based resources are a massive public service.

  11. sam*

    for New York City, I get the daily (hourly?) text alerts from the COVID notification system, and today’s was literally the following:

    Notify NYC: if you believe an employer is violating COVID19 related labor laws, call 311 & say “Paid Safe and Sick Leave” or visit nyc.gov/workers

    Hope that helps for city-specific info!

  12. Angela*

    I called the 311 number in California for LA County. They said I needed to call Department of Public Health at 888.700.9995.

    1. nuttysaladtree*

      Less for the master list and more for the commenters – LA County order excludes two cities with their own public health departments.

      Pasadena lists a phone number on this press release, so probably one can report a violation there: https://www.cityofpasadena.net/city-manager/news-releases/city-of-pasadena-issues-safer-at-home-order-for-control-of-covid-19/

      Long Beach does, too. Number matches the non-emergency line for city police:

    2. nuttysaladtree*

      LA County’s order excludes two cities with their own public health department. For Pasadena, call the Citizen Service Center listed at the bottom of the relevant press release. For Long Beach, the non-emergency line of the city police.

      Long Beach is on top of it. They have a handy dandy “Enforcement of the Health Order Flyer”.

      1. ..Kat..*

        From The Oregonian, Oregon’s newspaper:

        “The governor’s message has been muddled, though, on how workers should respond if they see workplace violations. Her office initially directed workplace complaints to Oregon’s Occupational Safety & Health division, but on Tuesday the governor said concerns should go to the Oregon Employment Department. On Wednesday, the governor said workers should direct concerns to the state’s Bureau of Labor & Industries.
        On Thursday, shortly after this article posted, the governor’s office said complaints and coronavirus safety violations should go only to Oregon OSHA, not to the other state agencies.
        Workers can make complaints online at bit.ly/2WFQKpR.”

        So, things keep changing with respect to this in Oregon.

        The Oregonian also reports that these agencies don’t have the staffing or procedures or enforcement capabilities to do anything about the complaints.

        These agencies were understaffed and overworked before these new duties were added to their usual work.

        1. ..Kat..*

          Clarification: the last sentence is my opinion, based on years of what I have read about these agencies in the newspaper. I am not trying to disparage these agencies. I think the employees of these agencies are chronically understaffed and overburdened, and doing the best they can.

  13. Lockdown Luna*

    So… how do we report the bill collectors that are harassing us while our entire state (CA) is on lockdown? I mean, if we’re all being laid off, and have already told them so, why are they still allowed to harass us for payments we clearly cannot make with no income coming in?

    1. Princesa Zelda*

      Unfortunately, I bet they’re working from home, and it’s legal to continue operations if your staff is working from home. :/

    2. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Talk to your attorney general and see if they can do something. Here in Massachusetts, Maura Healey just issued a regulation restricting bill collectors: “Creditors under the regulation are prohibited from methods of debt collection that can require people to leave their homes or have in-person contact, including filing new lawsuits against Massachusetts consumers, visiting their homes or places of work, or repossessing their cars, among other protections.

      “The regulation also prohibits debt collection agencies and debt buyers from making unsolicited debt collection telephone calls to consumers, the statement said.”

      That’s Massachusetts-specific, but if you have the time/energy, it might be worth calling your state’s AG. The attorney general’s office can tell you whether the bill collectors even *are* allowed to bothering you right now, and help you if they aren’t.

  14. Lucy*

    What if it’s the city government that’s insisting that employees come in for jobs that could easily be done from home? They *are* several of the reporting channels.

  15. EnfysNest*

    Florida doesn’t have a state-wide order yet, but Pinellas County (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, etc.) has a specific tips hotline set up for calls based on our “Safer at Home” order. 727-582-8477. [I just had to call because two of my friends teach at a preschool that’s refusing to properly separate their kids.]

    1. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

      Thanks for the Pinellas info, very helpful. Hopefully action will be taken to keep your friends and the kids safe.

  16. I'mBackAfterALongBreak*

    Can I just point out that there are so many exemptions for the various stay orders. What you as an individual believes is not “essential” is not the same as what the orders define as “essential”. Please check the list for your location to ensure that you are not wasting our government agencies’ time.

  17. Brett*

    There are no statewide orders, so the counties are the ones issuing orders and the complaints go to the department of health (except for Perry County, which does not have a department of health)

    I’ll start listing contacts by county here:
    City of Kansas City, MO: https://www.kcmo.gov/city-hall/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19/stay-at-home-order-faq
    City of St Louis: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/covid-19/ (contact for department of health)
    Franklin County: https://www.franklinmo.org/health
    Greene County: http://health.springfieldmo.gov/coronavirus
    Jackson County: https://www.jacohd.org/coronavirus
    Perry County: https://www.facebook.com/PerryCountyAdmin/ (I think the sheriff is the contact here)
    St Charles County: https://www.sccmo.org/2105/COVID-19
    St Louis County: https://stlouisco.com/Your-Government/County-Executive/COVID-19/COVID-19-Reporting-Executive-Order-Violations

  18. bellatrix*

    Any tips for what to do when you’re an essential industry but your particular job can be done from home? Company says “we’re just not a work-from-home company so everyone’s going to have to come in” but the job can absolutely be done from home, and often is. This has been in the news and the company names rhymes with Starter.

    1. nuttysaladtree*

      Depends on how the order or the list of essential workers is worded. I tried to emphasize to the operator who took my call that the list says ” cannot practically work remotely”. No idea if it worked.

    2. QED*

      I’ve heard that there’s a complaint in to the NY AG about this company, so it’s probably getting worked on. But if you’re in one of the states listed in the post, I would call the number or email the given email address and let them know.

  19. RUKiddingMe*

    In Washington I think the health department website is doing frequent updates to keep people informed about what, where, who, how many, etc.


    For the most part (don’t get me started about Alkai beach!) the public seems to be doing the right thing.

    I cant keep straight what the orders are/mean. We can still go out for essential and the like. Personally I’m staying inside.

  20. Some help needed please*

    I’m not sure if my employer is violating shelter in place orders. Our governor has ordered all non-essential businesses to close. I am a nonessential employee but am still required to report to work. Employees may work from home with the approval of their manager, which I got (thankfully since no one else in my small office was taking social distancing seriously.)

    FWIW I work for the local government but will not mention which state. Alison and readers, is my employer in violation of our governor’s orders?

    1. This NYS*

      If the business is declared non-essential, no one should be going to the office, regardless if your normal employee classification is essential or nonessential or somewhere in between. Go to the governor’s website and see if they have a list of what they are now considering essential businesses. If your employer is on the list, you need to be working. And I’d have to say, yes that means going into the office if you’re not allowed to work from home, even though that’s absolutely horrible.

      1. This NYS*

        On the other hand, where I work is a state agency, technically, but not an essential business. There are still people that are going into the office because they just can’t stand the thought of things coming to a grinding halt.
        It’s really frustrating to me because they’re just not paying attention to what the governor is saying, and it’s much easier where I work, to be saying we’re on pause for two weeks for now, rather than have little bits and pieces of things done and make it look like people are working, when many cannot work fully from home.

      2. This NYS*

        I should not have said “you need to be working” but maybe “you are not part of the must stay at home group”. Didn’t mean it to sound so harsh.

  21. MangoAngel*

    Not exactly on-topic, but tangentially related: In New York, Cuomo has stated that these are very specifically “stay-at-home” orders, because “shelter-in-home” is used when there’s an active shooter loose in the community.

    So “stay-in-home” is hopefully less mentally stressful or panic-inducing. As he put it, “Because especially in times like this, words matter.”

    1. This NYS*

      Yes, he made a good distinction between the/his definition of the terms shelter in place v. stay at home. To paraphrase him, let’s do the stay at home so we don’t elevate to shelter in place.

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